James Gunn Teases Major Deaths in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

After killing off DC Comics characters in The Suicide Squad, James Gunn teases another major Marvel death when he returns for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The sequel, set after the demise of Guardians group member Gamora (Zoe Saldana) during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, follows the deaths of adult Groot (Vin Diesel) in Guardians of the Galaxy and space pirate Yondu (Michael Rooker) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Ahead of his Marvel Cinematic Universe comeback with Vol. 3 later this year, Gunn warns not everyone is making it out of his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy alive:

"Guardians of the Galaxy has a family film element to it, so I'm telling that story to a lot of different people. When Rocket says to Drax, 'I'm gonna shoot you in the face and kill you,' we don't as an audience think in two seconds he's going to pull out his gun and we're going to see Drax's face disappear," Gunn told Entertainment Tonight about the PG-13 Marvel franchise. "In this movie, The Suicide Squad, they say they're going to shoot each other in the face, and they not only say it, they actually do it. We know that can happen at any time."

There's "a much bigger sense of danger for all of our characters" in the R-rated Suicide Squad "because we know all of them could die," Gunn added. "Whereas in Guardians, yes, obviously I killed Yondu, I killed the big original Groot, but it isn't the same thing. We know most of them are going to make it out alive. At least for two movies."

Asked what might happen in Guardians 3 that he would give such an ominous tease, Gunn said: "You'll have to wait and see." The Marvel Studios movie is scheduled to begin production later this year and will hit theaters on May 5, 2023.

"The last Marvel project, who knows, but I see it as my last Guardians movie," Gunn told ET about Vol. 3. "I'm a guy who never says never because I've seen too many people say 'never' and be pulled back into the fray, so I wouldn't say that. But I see it as being my last Guardians movie. I know [Drax actor] Dave [Bautista] sees it as being his last Guardians movie, and Dave and I are pretty much attached to the hip on those projects. So I don't see me going on and doing any more after that."

When Disney reinstated Gunn as director of Vol. 3 after his very public firing in 2018, Gunn revealed what would have been his biggest regret had he not been able to complete his trilogy: not finishing the arc for Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) started with Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014.

"I relate to Rocket and I feel compassion for Rocket, but I also feel like his story has not been completed. He has an arc that started in the first movie, continued into the second, and goes through [Avengers sequels] Infinity War and Endgame, and then I was set to really finish that arc in Guardians 3," Gunn told Deadline in 2019. "That was a big loss to me — not being able to finish that story — though I was comforted by the fact that they were still planning to use my script."

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DC's The Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max through September 6. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens in theaters on May 5, 2023.